Last week, the crew behind Darlinghurst's Black Bottle brought its natural wine bar vibes to Sydney's inner west with the opening of PG's. The new speakeasy takes up prime real-estate along King Street, just across from the Newtown Hotel, and it's looking like a good'un.
Black Bottle co-owner Lucas Cristofle and Ben Labat (The Grounds of Alexandria) have collaborated to open the venue, which has exposed brick walls, low-lighting and pink neon signs, plus bar chow by Ricky Firth and a focus on cocktails and reasonably priced wines by the glass and bottle.
Their wine list focuses on the natural and organic, with local craft beers, too. Cocktails include house specialties (all $18) such as the Lavender Fields (gin and lavender oil with an absinthe rinse), the Kaffir Lime Sour (kaffir-infused vodka with lemongrass syrup and finger lime) and the extremely boozy sounding Cabron on Fire (mezcal, a smoky scotch and agave). For eats, Firth is cooking up bar snacks like chicken wings and cheeseburger jaffles, as well as bringing over the house pâté from Black Bottle.
Named for mums Pat and Gigi, the speakeasy bit comes from the library cover entrance. From the street, the space better resembles a used book store than a bar — one that houses some pretty regal-looking hard covers, we might add.
"The idea behind a speakeasy came from a discussion with a fellow operator in Darlinghurst who said 'prohibition is over'," says Cristofle. "To whom we replied 'Really? Then what do you call a government which tells you where, how and when to drink? We are right in the middle of [prohibition]."
Once inside, the two-level bar reveals itself and, according to Cristofle, takes on a vibe of 'house party at your mums' combined with rock 'n' roll feels. To that end, they've restored the old house back to its bare bones and set it up for big name local and international acts to take the stage. The fit-out sees a mix of seating, from aged leather Chesterfield sofas to cafe-style low tables and high bar stools, along with potted plants aplenty and classical portraits adorning the walls.
The location is no lucky coincidence, either. "Newtown is the only neighbourhood that stuck together and thrived [through the lockout laws] these last few years, and we respect that," says Cristofle. "We feel the Newtown community is eager for small places and a bit more human-scaled than the multi-billion dollar hospitality giants."
Open daily from 4pm until late, the upstairs bar will host live gigs two nights a week, plus one-off parties and other decadent speakeasy events. There'll also be happy hour every day from 5–7pm — with $15 carafes, $10 class cocktails and $5 tap beers on offer — and half-price wings and tinnies on offer every Wednesday. This joint is definitely worth a gander.
PG's is now open at 169 King Street, Newtown. Open daily from 4pm until late.